Burning coolant like it burns gas

Discussion in '80-Series Tech' started by Alan802, Nov 18, 2005.

  1. Alan802

    Alan802

    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2005
    Well, i've been lurking on here for months and have done a lot of searching. I think my cruiser is about to go down. It's burning coolant and has a rough idle. Edwin at lcs in Pflugerville did some work on it earlier this summer and replaced the radiator and the phh the previous spring and solved my overheating issues. I also had a tune up earlier this summer. It ran great for about two months and now it is really going through coolant and it isn't running right.

    Since I don't have much cash available I've been contemplating doing as much of the work and maintenance myself, however, the only things that I have worked on has been dirt bikes and four wheelers. I haven't done much work on any of my automobiles, other than putting and new starter and alternator on a 90' GMC and am wondering if I will be biting off more than I can chew.

    Any advice on the coolant issues and doing my own maintenance. The exhaust smells like it always has and there are never any leak stains in the garage. It is not burning much oil, meaning I never have to add oil between changes (hard to believe) and has 201,000 miles on it (93'). I have spoke to the p o and the dealership that most of the work was done in the past and it has had no head gasket work and supposedly I'm the only one that it has ever overheated on.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. e9999

    e9999 You want to do what...? Moderator

    Messages:
    16,685
    Likes Received:
    556
    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2003
    Location:
    US
    how much coolant?
     
  3. Alan802

    Alan802

    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2005
    About 1 gallon per 1000 miles.
     
  4. tucker74

    tucker74 Moderator

    Messages:
    4,486
    Likes Received:
    602
    Joined:
    May 12, 2003
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Only two places for coolant to leak - internally or externally. If it's internal you need to replace the head gasket ... otherwise find where it's leaking and fix it. If you're not seeing puddles, look around the block for white scale where the antifreeze is evaporating.

    Do a search for head gasket - the easiest way to tell is the "bubble test", pull your overflow cap and have someone rev the engine while you watch the hose holding it near the surface. If you see bubbles ... you've got trouble. Check for milky oil and foam under the oil cap to be sure ...

    Good luck -

    Tucker
     
  5. Alan802

    Alan802

    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2005
    I've tried the bubble test without revving the engine and got bubbles. I'll check while revving and look at the other signs tonight. The coolant overflow tank is running dry as well as the radiator, if that helps anyone. Thanks Tucker.
     
  6. tucker74

    tucker74 Moderator

    Messages:
    4,486
    Likes Received:
    602
    Joined:
    May 12, 2003
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Not a good thing ... doing the work your self you’re looking at $400-$600 depending on head work. There's a good shop up in Cedar Park that did my buddies 1FZ head for $200, but it's about a week’s turnaround. It'll cost ya +/- $2k to have the whole head gasket job done at a shop :frown:

    Tucker

    My advise - get an FSM, Doug’s new DVD, some tools and go at it ... it's really not that hard (just big).
     
  7. kbellve

    kbellve

    Messages:
    152
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    May 30, 2005
    Location:
    Hubbardston, MA
    Get a radiator pressure tester....pressurize the system and the look for the puddle on the ground if you are lucky...or water in the oil if you aren't lucky.

    It doesn't take much to loose a gallon over a thousand miles. A small hole in a hose will do that and it might not show until the system is pressurized.
     
  8. CreeperSleeper

    CreeperSleeper SILVER Star

    Messages:
    6,798
    Likes Received:
    632
    Joined:
    May 16, 2005
    Location:
    Forest Grove, OR
    If you have bubbles I'm 99% sure it is your head gasket. Search different posts on it and you will find some good advice.
     
  9. Alan802

    Alan802

    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2005
    I've been suspecting the head gasket and have read a ton of threads. I guess I'm looking for reassurance and wondering if it is something I can tackle myself. I don't have any special tools, just the regular socket set, wrenches and pliers. I have access to a torque wrench and I need to get the fsm. Anyone with limited experience ever try to do the head gasket job?
     
  10. Heffenoche

    Heffenoche

    Messages:
    517
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2003
    Location:
    VA
    I just got my ioil test report back from Blackstone and I have anti-freeze in my oil. I've done a couple of suspensions and front axle maint. jobs but I think I'm taking this to a shop because of a lack of a garage and the overhead cams look a little complicated. Good luck
     
  11. IdahoDoug

    IdahoDoug

    Messages:
    8,864
    Likes Received:
    269
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2003
    Alan,

    Send a sample to Blackstone immediately. It will either confirm coolant in the oil (head gasket) and you can spend money or dedicate a weekend to handle it with a clear conscience that is has to be done, OR there will be no coolant and you can start chasing down external leaks with a pressure tester.

    DougM
     
  12. DJForrestA

    DJForrestA

    Messages:
    158
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2005
    Location:
    Twin Falls Idaho
    Gonna get flamed I know but seems to me that this is an all too common issue on these engines. I'd definatly look into a swap. You could buy an entire crate 350 for the price of having your headgasket repaired. A 5.7 liter FI engine VS a 4.5 liter will be no comparison. Just look at the factory horsepower and torque numbers. Just seems to me this is a bad design and parts are very expensive. A swap will probably cost you in the neighborhood of 3500 bucks but then you'd have less expensive parts, more power and a little piece of mind.
     
  13. cruiserman

    cruiserman

    Messages:
    1,861
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003
    It's not difficult. You'll need a few tools, but nothing really expensive :). Pull the hood if you want more room, and rent a cherry picker to pull the head. Line up a good machine shop. Check the valve clearances. You'll need to set them if the shop makes any mods.
     
  14. ginericLC

    ginericLC Wagon Wheeler! SILVER Star

    Messages:
    7,399
    Likes Received:
    454
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2003
    Location:
    MH, IDaho
    On what planet are you going to do a swap for 3500? I think you have greatly underestimated the cost of a swap greatly. $3500 isn't going to get you a new EFI motor, adapters, and all of the misc. accessories. Things like exhaust get really expensive. I'm not flaming you for the V8 idea and since you drive a 91 and I can definitely see why you suggest it. You are way off on price. Especially in this case where the guy says he has limited tools. If you look at a professionally done conversion you will find the starting price is about $20,000.

    Also the issue disappears when you do the repair. The replacement gasket does not have the issue. IdahoDoug is the only guy I know who has done the job twice.

    The Chevy may have cheaper parts but it takes more of them to keep it running as long.

    I'm speaking from experience. I put a TBI 350 in my FJ60. I gained no reliabilty. I actually felt like I lost it. The power was significant and that was fun.
     
  15. nyk438

    nyk438

    Messages:
    253
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2005
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    20,000 for an engine swap?? Didn't think it was that much swapping a 350 into the FJ80. I've been thinking of looking into it and saving some cash up to buy the engine over the summer then swap it. How much do all the conversion parts cost? And the only gain you noticed after you did it was more power?
     
  16. IdahoDoug

    IdahoDoug

    Messages:
    8,864
    Likes Received:
    269
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2003
    Agree with Eric. There's nothing wrong with this engine design but the gasket could have been better. Replace that and you're back to bulletproof for 300,000 more miles.

    Doing a conversion is going to be a lot more expensive than a head gasket. In fact, the parts are $175 for this job from Cdan - head gasket, and various seals and such you replace upon reassembly. So, $175 and likely no machine work which means you just slap the new gasket on and reverse the steps - done in a weekend. I'd borrow a flatness gauge for the weekend so you can check before reassembly just to be sure.

    DougM
     
  17. bucky

    bucky

    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2005
    Location:
    Arizona
    If it is any better for you I am in the same boat on the head gasket with 127K on the vehicle. Bought it used of course and it was abused. Can some one tell us why the gasket blows?
     
  18. Alan802

    Alan802

    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2005

    Thanks Doug, I'll send a sample out monday and hope for the best. Still not sure about doing the work myself yet though. I guess I should get the fsm pretty soon also. Maybe the old christmas bonus from work can cover the costs of getting someone elso to do it but I won't hold my breath. Thanks to everyone for your posts and someday I'll have some photos to put up, whenever it doesn't look so stock. Keep ya posted.
     
  19. Rich

    Rich

    Messages:
    1,805
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2003
    I wouldn't consider doing a proper replacement a weekend job. In my opinion a proper job would include having the head checked by an automotive machine shop for flattness and cracks.

    Considering the labor required to remove and replace the head, it only makes sense to have the valves done and the injectors cleaned at the same time.

    Even for a pro, this takes prety much takes it out of the realm for a weekend job.
     
  20. DJForrestA

    DJForrestA

    Messages:
    158
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2005
    Location:
    Twin Falls Idaho
    I've done this swap in my scout and 20.000 is way way way out of line. My brother has done 4 FJ60 swaps to a 350 and he charged 4500 complete. I have no idea where you get the 20000 dollar number? I did this swap in my scout from a 345 to a SBC, Turbo 400 and it cost 3500 with all parts included. The motor was from the wreckage and not new though. My brother is a professional mechanic and 4500 will get is a new 350 swapped in for you and the job is beautiful. Having driven a 1FZ this week I can tell you for sure the power difference would be great. The 350 is 200 pounds lighter, has more power and gets better gas milage. I don't see the down side. If you pay to have the head gasket done its 2000 not 175. You could score a low milage vortec complete at a wreckage for close to 1500 bucks maybye less. Or you could pay 2000 for a head gasket with labor and spend another 7500 for a turbo install for labor. and your 9500 dollar motor would probably have about the same power as you 4500 dollar SBC swap. I just did a complete exhaust with muffler on my 80 and it cost me 200 bucks. I've got pictures and reciepts. BTW the 4500 bucks includes ehaust.
     
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.